Alex Matlala
2 minute read
23 Jul 2020
5:01 am

Limpopo sets aside R3.5bn aid for Covid-19 war

Alex Matlala

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has warned if the budget is not closely monitored, it may be end-up misappropriated.

Virus test: South Africa has the most COVID-19 cases of any country south of the Sahara. AFP/MARCO LONGARI

The Limpopo Provincial Treasury has set aside R3.5 billion for the curbing and the spread of the coronavirus in its five districts, the department said yesterday.

The money comes on the heels of another R42 million, which was allocated by the National Treasury to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus in March. It was distributed among other sectors of government to mitigate the infection and spread of the virus.

During his special Covid-19 adjustment budget for 2020 yesterday, MEC for treasury Charlie Seaparo Sekoati said since the declaration of the national state of disaster, President Cyril Ramaphosa had announced the government would make available social and economic support, commonly referred to as “stimulus packages” of about R500 billion.

Ramaphosa also said R130 billion of the R500 billion would come from the national and provincial 2020-21 budgets. A total of R30 billion of that R130 billion would be sourced from the already tabled provincial budgets. Limpopo’s contribution to the R30 billion was R3.5 billion, Sekoati said.

“SA is currently faced with a technical recession, with negative [gross domestic product] growth rates in the past three quarters.

“In the same period the unemployment rate in Limpopo increased exponentially to 23.6% and it is expected to worsen due to the impact of Covid-19. Sectors that will be most affected are mining, manufacturing, construction, transport, wholesale, retail, motor trade, catering and accommodation.

“To accumulate the province’s R3.5 billion contributions, all the departments and public entities were requested to revisit their equitable share allocations to identify programmes or activities that could temporarily be suspended without negatively impacting the longevity of such programmes,” said Sekoati.

These were typically programmes or activities that had already been put on hold during the lockdown.

“They are projects where implementation dates could be moved out to the next financial year or … were not critical to the core service delivery requirements of the departments,” he said.

“These reductions were approved by the executive council. Treasury has decided that provinces will retain their equitable share contributions, which means that there will be no change to our equitable share allocation and that it will remain at R62.3 billion

“But I must warn that the province must therefore reprioritise the said contribution to fund Covid-19 projects.”

Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) warned if the budget was not closely monitored, it may be end-up misappropriated, abused or misused.

“MEC Sekoati and the provincial treasury must put strict controls to ensure that departments and entities that benefit from this adjustment budget practice financial prudence so that the people of Limpopo are well prepared for the Covid-19 peak,” said DA provincial leader Jacques Smalle.

“In the case of procurement of services and personal protective equipment, the provincial treasury must ensure that suppliers on the provincial database are registered in the central supplier database.”

– news@citizen.co.za

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